Story by Ahmed Shatil Alam
Ole Miss Graduate Student
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered a formal impeachment inquiry of the U.S. president Donald Trump Sept. 24, searches for the term “impeachment” spiked across the country, according to Google Trends data.
Since that day, searches for the term have dropped sharply, and interest appears particularly low in Mississippi.
People searched ‘impeachment’ most on Sept. 24, but that’s decreased over time.
Local political experts and activists say that may be attributed to the fact that Trump has huge support in the state, with 58% of voters choosing him in the 2016 presidential election.
“President Trump enjoys sky-high approval ratings in Mississippi. Many national polls have Mississippi among the three states with the highest Trump approval ratings,” said Adam Ganucheau, a political reporter for the non-partisan website Mississippi Today.
To take a look at where interest in the term impeachment is higher or lower within the 50 states and the District of Columbia, click on the list symbol in the lower right of this interactive graphic.
On the Ole Miss campus, Ryan Ammenheuser is the secretary for the College Democrats organization – the official student wing of the Democratic Party at the university. Based on his experience, Ammenheuser said he thinks the state’s widespread support of Trump helps explain some of the lower interest among Mississippians.
“Impeachment is less of a talking point because, unlike in more liberal or swing states, it’s not seen as net positive by most people in this state,” said Ammenheuser.
School of Journalism and New Media Associate Professor Charles D. Mitchell spent more than 30 years working as a journalist in the South. He sees evidence on social media and on other platforms that makes him believe that many Mississippians simply do not want to see Trump impeached or removed from office, and they consider the impeachment process unwarranted.
“(People) do not believe the issue…and they think the president is attacked by his political enemies,” Mitchell said.
Within Mississippi, Trends data indicates the Hattiesburg-Laurel metro area has the highest level of search activity for the term impeachment, followed by Biloxi, Greenwood, Columbus-Tupelo and Jackson. (Oxford is included in the Memphis metro.)
Ganucheau said he is not surprised by Mississippians’ apparent lack of interest in seeking out information about impeachment.
“They’ve continued to stand by during scandals that very likely would’ve hurt any other U.S. president,” he said.